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Festival gives student filmmakers a place to shine

Many may think that the arts are only for those naturally gifted with the talent. The Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology proves otherwise. After viewing student-made films at last Friday’s student film festival, it is easy to see that anybody can become an artist if they put in the time and effort.

The BCAT, located on Main Street, is home to a flourishing development center for high schoolers and adults. The BCAT’s main mission is to give students in low graduating rate schools the opportunity to prepare themselves for college and life after school.

The newly renovated building also serves as a teaching ground for adults with programs such as medical coding and pharmacy technician. By providing a welcoming, open and trustworthy space, visitors get the sense of hope and comfort all around them. The staff members’ offices were built with clear walls that have inspirational words on them.

Stacey Watson, director of programs, described the film festival. A group of 13 city high school students spent the summer learning how to use equipment such as a Mac, digital camera, recording studio and editing software to create 15 short films. The students then took their newly achieved skills and explored Western New York – places such as Canalside and the Griffis Sculpture Park. The students teamed up with Kevin Kline from Squeaky Wheel to create short films, some featuring interviews, pictures and video. The films were put to background music, most of which the students created themselves in BCAT’s sound studio.

“The stars of this evening are the talented young people we worked with this summer and their unique perspectives on the Buffalo story,” Amber Dixon, BCAT executive director, said in a news release.

The film fest “also celebrates a further collaboration between the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology and Squeaky Wheel,” Dixon added. “As an organization focused on helping young people graduate from high school, BCAT is thrilled to bring the talents of Squeaky Wheel to our young people and our facility.”

To say that the students were proud of their work would be an understatement. The films required much effort, which was easily portrayed in their works.

“For some students, this was their first time holding a camera or exploring the world through a new lens,” said Jax Deluca, executive director of Squeaky Wheel.

BCAT’s goals of creating an “inspiring environment” and a place of growth and achievement were met beyond measure. Not everyone is born an artist or gifted with the knowledge of how to use certain equipment, but with a vision, perseverance, and the right environment, anything is possible.

For more information on BCAT and Squeaky Wheel, visit and

Allison Rusinski is a junior at St. Mary’s High School.